Galapagos Cruise Report: Española Island

From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos July 11, 2010

Punta Suarez at Española Island is really a highlight among the visitor’s sites of the Galápagos archipelago. The month of July, being the beginning of the cold season, sees a great display of many animals in breeding processes that we witnessed today.

We disembarked at low tide. As we approached the shore, marine iguanas were spotted feeding on the rocks. These reptiles are the only lizards in the world that feed this way, and the subspecies that lives in Española Island is endemic to the island.

The landing site was covered by red sally light foot crabs and more red marine iguanas; we continued our walk welcomed by big and colorful lava lizards, finches and mocking birds. As we advanced on the bouldery trail, we got the amazing display of a juvenile Galápagos hawk that was flying around our groups. Finally as we arrived at a dramatic cliff, we found our goal, the waved albatrosses. These birds come only during the cold season, and they just land in this island in order to breed. We saw a couple of pairs doing their courtship, and we found the first chicks of this year. We were ready to go back to our ship.

The afternoon at Gardner Bay was full of activities. We had great fun at the beach; this place is framed by coralline white sand, which is covered with hundreds of sea lions. We observed them for hours, the females were resting while the pups played around or nurse – what a delight to observe them! There were more activities as well: we kayaked, snorkeled, and experienced the glass bottom boat.

After a day full of activities we came back to recover our energies, we have to be ready for tomorrow, another great day is waiting for us.

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